NASA Picture of the Day: Major Volcano Erupts on Jupiter’s Moon, Io [PHOTO]
NASA witnessed a massive volcano eruption on Jupiter's moon, Io.
The moon is the innermost of Jupiter's four largest moons, and is the most volcanically active object in the Solar System. According to Universe Today, Io has 240 active regions.
Io's activity is a result of tidal heating from friction generated within Io's interior as it is pulled between Jupiter and the other moons, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Volcanos may dispel sulfur or sulfur dioxide as high as 300 miles above the surface.
Professor of Astronomy Dr. Imke de Pater at the University of California in Berkeley saw the explosion while using a Keck II telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii on August 15th, 2013.
"When you are right at the telescope and see the data, this is something you can see immediately, especially with a big eruption like that," de Pater told Universe Today.
The eruption is one of the top 10 most powerful witnessed on the moon. "It is a very energetic eruption that covers over a 30 square kilometer area," de Pater said. "For Earth, that is big, and for Io it is very big too. It really is one of the biggest eruptions we have seen."